28 Jul What Does the New Testament Say About Tithing?
When it comes to the New Testament’s thoughts on tithing, many people are divided on what it says exactly.
In this post, we hope to shed some light on what the Bible says about tithing — both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
But first, we’ll talk about what exactly the word tithing means and where it comes from.
Let’s get started!
What is “Tithing”?
The word ‘tithe’ comes up in the Old Testament as a translation from Hebrew. Deriving from the Old English root, tithe means ‘one tenth.’
Within the Old Testament agricultural economy, tithes were paid to Lords as an expression of thanks and dedication from farmers. While today we associate tithe as 10 percent, in the Old Testament tithes actually occurred two times each year (and three times every third year).
Throughout the Old Testament, tithes were given by the patriarch Abraham and Jacob, and a system of tithes was created in the law of God given through Moses. The children of Israel also came under fire for failing to give the tithe to God in Malachi 3:8.
But what about tithing in the New Testament?
Well, it should be noted that the New Testament never applies the tithe to believers, though the idea of the tithe can still be found within its pages.
For example, in 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, Christians are called to generously give in response to the gospel of the Lord Jesus, based on faith in God as Provider.
Old Testament vs. New Testament Tithing Breakdown
It’s an age-old debate — whether or not the tithe applies to only the Old Testament or if it is truly included in the New Testament.
No one will argue against the fact that tithing is most frequently used throughout the Old Testament, with Malachi 3:8-12 being one of the commonly referenced passages:
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.”
But, as mentioned previously, the New Testament also features tithing.
In Matthew 23:23, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for tithing and ignoring the more important issues of justice, mercy, and faith:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Notice how He doesn’t say how tithing is wrong but rather suggests that they should have tithed in addition to practicing justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
How to Teach Tithing to Your Congregation
When you speak on the importance of tithing during a service, make sure to reference Matthew 23:23 — which states that tithing should be done in conjunction with practicing faithfulness.
It’s also important to relay the main idea that surrounds tithing — which is about both trusting and acknowledging that everything already belongs to God.
Relaying the significance of tithing to your congregation should start early. Bible Study and Sunday school is a great time to instill the value of tithing of the younger members of your church.
Another effective teaching strategy is to interview a couple of longtime tithers during service or to mention them in in your sermon.
Talk about how long they have been tithing for, whether or not it was challenging to start tithing, and advice to members of the congregation who are maybe hesitant to tithe or fear they cannot afford it.
It’s important that their answers are honest so that they can help those who are having trouble committing to tithing in their own lives.
Above all else, make sure to teach tithing in it’s purest form:
When we give to the church, it helps the church do more good in the world — which is precisely what God has asked us to do. When we tithe, the church can go forth and teach more people about God.
It’s a simple but effective message.
Making Tithing Easier For Your Congregation
One way to encourage tithing within your church is to ensure that you’re using 21st-century technology.
A partnership with mobileAxept means that you’ll have access to our ReachNow, GiveNow Text, GiveNow Online, and ConnectNow solutions. These solutions are aimed at making it more convenient for members of your church to tithe.
In fact, churches that offer online giving options increase their donations by 32%!
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you increase engagement in your church.